tv [untitled] March 23, 2012 3:00am-3:30am EDT
later they provide the 60th vote for obamacare. >> well, one of the state in the republican party but only if i could vote my conscience and when we were heading for a depression, i felt it was necessary to support the stimulus package and took the lead role in getting that passed. and the right wing was outraged. they have never been very happy with me. i have a tough race in 2004, as you just quoted but i wasn't sent to congress to vote simply to preserve my seat. listen, i was a child during the depression in the 1930s and i remember as it was my family lived in wichita kansas and we packed -- my dad had a pickup truck, put the four kids in the
back of the pickup truck, a rough ride from wichita to live with the family. that's where we're headed and it's pretty much conceded. but the right wing, the extremist, did not look like the bush bail out of the auto industry. >> the t.a.r.p. growth? >> the t.a.r.p. growth. and dick cheney came and talked to the republican caucus in early october 2008. the house of representatives had defeated t.a.r.p., the auto bailout. and dick cheney, you know that wild-eyed liberal, talked to the republican caucus and said, if you don't support this measure, you'll turn george w. bush into a modern her bert hoover.
and 25 of us defeated that. the twin brother of t.a.r.p., the auto bailout, was the stimulus package and that's what i supported and the can any balances were up in arms. >> when you voted for the 2009 stimulus bill where you ran into bob bennett and he said what to you about that vote? >> he said, arlen, i'm proud of you. >> i said, thanks, will you vote with me? that will bring me a primary fight the key is for the senators to vote their
conscience and this is a theme that i had been developing for years. in 2005 the senate was fill lee bustering the nuclear option or constitutional option to by trickery change the rules of fi filibuster. and i talked to my republican colleagues and they don't like the nuclear option but they feel they have to back the party line. i've talked to democrats and they don't like the filibuster.
as they were then don't like that. i was a member of that group when i was in the senate and i carried that theme forward. there's a lot of wisdom in the senate. if it would be exercised to vote their conscience and not follow the party line but the reality is that members are terrified by a primary challenge. senator joe lieberman couldn't win a republican primary and i couldn't win a democrat primary. >> let's go to 2012. will you endorse president obama for re-election? >> i'm going to wait to see how the campaign evolves. i am now in a different position. i am now citizen arlen specter.
>> when will you decide? >> i think i'll decide about october 25th at high noon. >> well, would you vote for a republican then ? >> absolutely. absolutely. i'm going to vote for the better man, in my opinion. i'm not going to be bound by party -- by party loyalty. >> you write in the book about part of the reason that you lost your primary in 2010 was that president obama did not campaign for you as much as he promised to do so and democratic leadership in the senate. are you holding out your vote for president obama, your support for him, because he didn't follow through on what he promised? >> no. i am not doing that. all of that is yesterday. i intend to make an evaluation of the nominees. i want to see who the republican is, presumably it will be
romney. i'm not very happy with romney. frankly, i'm not happy with president obama. i think his policy in afghanistan is dead wrong. i said so in the senate. i opposed his 30,000 additional troops in the senate i think it was a colossal mistake to extend the tax breaks to the 1%. you have this big battle 99% versus 1%. they were going to expire the end of 2010. they should not have been extended. i think there are a lot of issues now on economic growth. but i do understand that i have to make a selection between the alternatives. i ran for the republican nomination. it was a well-kept secret, the nomination back in 1996. i had no admissions -- >> you were quoted that santorum
is not up to being president, not mitt romney either. >> no, i didn't say mitt romney wasn't. i said not sure. >> you're right. >> that's a big difference in what i said about romney and santorum. >> then why the difference? explain the difference? >> well, the difference is i know rick santorum very well. i worked for him 12 years in the senate. i helped him win the election back in 1994 in august his campaign was in the dumps and i gave him my organization. i gave him my people, campaigned for them and helped him win. we had a collegial relationship. i worked together for pennsylvania which is very important. the two senators do that. but when he's trying for president, it's a different matter. here you have his views. he doesn't believe that women belong in the workforce.
he doesn't believe in contraception. he thinks that in the gay issue that it's man on dog. he talks about beastiality. he criticizes very harshly the speech in houston, separation of church and state, which the foundation of america, next to santorum's likely to attack jefferson. who knows what comes next. i urged rick to have some unexpressed ideas. but he's very dedicated to and i don't think it's great for america. romney, where does he stand? yesterday his chief adviser talked about a restart button after the primaries,
etch-a-sketch. it's a tool, you jumble it up and have a new sketch. what's romney going to do next? bill maher had a great line for romney which i think is okay for c-span. maher said that romney changes positions more often than a pornographic movie queen. so where's he going to be next? that's why i'm not sure about the romney. i am sure about santorum. >> and newt gingrich, you're quoted in there saying wa about newt gingrich? >> well, i'm quoted in there saying that he has a great resume and credentials. >> so if it was romney versus gingrich, would you vote for gingrich? >> well, gingrich has a lot of qualifications.
i've taken to a stand-up and i was five years ago in the celebrity comedy and decided to have an open mike in philadelphia and the spirit of the season i decided to go back and i was well received and i was invited to go to carolines in new york on broadway, 49th. and since i'm going to be in new york next week promoting my book, we've got to show this book more. >> and i'm going to be promoting next week, "life among the cannibals." anyhow, back to gingrich. he's part of my routine and newt and i came to the capital at the same time.
newt was elected in '78, '79, '80. i've known newt so long i knew him when he was skinny. as a matter of fact, i even knew newt's first wife and most of his girlfriends. >> okay, on that -- >> there's more. >> i bet. >> okay. go ahead. >> caller: good morning. unfortunately, not a lot of people have a chance to change their stripes like senator specter. >> i didn't change my stripes, mister. >> caller: can you let me ask a question? >> if you talk too. >> can i finish my point? i have a limited amount of time. >> go ahead, edward. >> i want to finish my point. >> it's 1200 days since the democrats have been in control of the senate, and they have not passed any budget bill at all. i think that's something that is worth to talk about, and all
these cannibal organizations you're talking about is all conservative. none of your viewing artists have heard you mention any left liberal organizations. they're all conservatives. and the last thing i want to say is this right here there is 50 million americans who doesn't pay any scheduled income tax. the u.s. has the highest corporate tax rate in the world. the top 10% of the wage earners in this country pay 65% of the federal receipts going to paying taxes. and the health care bill that you passed, 26 states are objecting to it, and all the unions that support it have now asked for a waiver. >> i'm going to leave it there. there is a lot there for the senator to respond to. >> well, when you say that i haven't commented about the democrats, you're not listening very closely, mister. i said the democrats wouldn't elect a very able senator like joe lieberman, that there are cannibals in both parties. that's what i said just a few
minutes ago. when you complain about the tax structure, i think you've got a good point. i made that point earlier that i disagreed with president obama when he extended the tax wealth. i think our tax code needs to be changed. when i was in the senate, i introduced legislation for the flat tax. >> he also talked about the health care law. the oral arguments start next week before the supreme court. is the health care law constitutional? >> yes. >> why? >> because it's legitimate exercise of congress's authority under the commerce clause. >> you're teaching a class at university of pennsylvania law school right now talking about the separation between congress and the supreme court. so is that what you're telling your students? >> yes. i'm telling them the same thing i'm telling you, greta. >> so how do you think the justices -- you've studied these guys. you've voted for many of these justices during your career. >> not many, all of them.
all of them who are sitting now. >> and a lot more. >> no. i didn't vote for marshall. >> how do you think these current justices are going to vote? >> well, the conventional wisdom greta is that they're declared unconstitutional because we have gotten an ideological core. we have a court which is divided very sharply on ideological lines. bush versus gore, the supreme court elected george bush by one vote on a very far-fetched theory of irreparable harm that justice scalia had. and citizens united, again, you had a very badly polarized ideological core. justice kennedy is in the center, and i think he enjoys being unpredictable. he'd like to call it the kennedy court, and he took another step yesterday when he was the swing
vote on giving counsel to defendants on plea bargain cases. but the conventional wisdom is that the court is going to strike it down. >> kennedy will vote with the conservative. >> that's the conventional wisdom. but he probably watches c-span, and i would urge him to follow the facts. a big point in these issues is whether congress has established a sufficient factual basis for the legislation which is followed. and when chief justice roberts testified on confirmation in response to my questions, he said that it was congress's job to establish the facts. and that if the supreme court deviated from what congress had followed, found, that it was really legislating and it was not an appropriate judicial function, but in citizens united there was 100,000-page record of
congressional fact finding. and chief justice roberts and justice scalia did a 180-degree u-turn on their confirmation testimony. but if the supreme court looks at the factual basis for what we did in enacting that legislation, they will uphold it. >> democratic caller in round rock, texas. you're on the air. >> caller: good morning, senator specter. >> good morning. >> i would like to thank you for your service. i'm a vietnam vet, and i really appreciate a senator that thinks before he votes. i have two questions for you. the first one, what do you think about the gop's attack on voting rights? you know, they say that the voter rights bill is because there is so much wrong in voting. but in mississippi, they just had their vote for the gop candidates, and the bill was passed in november of last year,
yet they didn't put the bill in for the votes that they just had. and it was 97% white people that voted for the gop. but they're going to start the vote in november when the vote which really hinders minorities, elderly, and hispanic -- >> okay, caller, let me get the senator's response. >> you raise a very good point. and the department of justice has moved in to many of those situations on voter id, for example. the department of justice has found that it's discriminatory against blacks, against african-americans. in the redistricting there have been challenges that it's tilted, especially in the south. there has to be clearance. and the voting rights act was
passed to give equal standing to every citizen. we reauthorized the voting rights act during my tenure as chairman of the judiciary committee, and the department of justice is enforcing it. but it's very hard to keep up with all of the maneuvers which were made in the southern states which tend to exclude african-americans. >> we'll go next to -- next phone call is from columbia. maryland, caller, go ahead. >> caller: good morning. >> morning. >> caller: i wanted to talk to you. i have a question based on a hypothetical scenario, if i can. let's say there was a republican-brokered convention and they actually drafted you, and you became the republican nominee. what would you have for your top few planks in your presidential, you know, campaign? >> my top two planks would be to
disengage in afghanistan. al qaeda is not there. we have no quarrel with the taliban. i would fight al qaeda, but i wouldn't spend time in afghanistan on foreign policy. i would be much more into diplomacy during my tenure in the senate where i chaired the intelligence committee. i visited with saddam hussein. i think we had a chance to use diplomatic pressure on him. mubarak, assad, we had an opening with iran back in 2003 and didn't really take it. we need to treat foreign countries, foreign leaders with more dignity and respect. we're known around the world as the ugly americans and for good cause. that's one item that i would emphasize very strongly. and i would restructure our tax
laws so with some teeth so that the 1% who are not shielded on what is happening in the economy and what is going on in wall street is not countenanced. you have the recent disclosure from goldman sachs of one of their key people quitting in disgust because of what goes on. you had the collapse of the economy triggered significantly by the bubble on housing. they took all of these mortgages, which were vastly overvalued. they wrapped them up in securities and they sold them. and on the same day that they sold these securities to investors to a lot of pension funds, the brokerage firm on wall street was betting against them, selling them short. that is had the opinion that they were going to go down. and if they went down, the
brokerage firms will make money. well, that's fraud. i used to be the d.a. of philadelphia, and that ought to be prosecuted. and that would be one step on some real efforts to put people back to work. >> ben, a republican in turlock, california. you're up next for the former senator from pennsylvania, senator arlen specter. go ahead. >> caller: hi. how are you doing? >> morning. >> caller: by the way, i think the host always looks lovely, and that's a good thing. but mr. specter, as far as politics goes, i wanted to kind of go off the subject. but cannibalism is a part of politics. we got to understand that. what the you remember of ted stephens, that senator? and is jeremy rockefeller still in the senate? >> jerry rockefeller is still in the senate. what do i remember of ted stevens? that he was a terrific senator, an honest man. did a lot for his state alaska and did a lot for america.
and when he was being persecuted, which is what was happening, not prosecuted, i urge the attorney general to take a look at the case because i followed it very closely. i got the documents, took a look at them, and thought the case was being handled improperly. and as i mentioned earlier, i used to be the district attorney of philadelphia. so i've obviously had a lot of experience in that field. when eric holder was up for confirmation and i was the ranking republican, and i had some questions for eric holder about some of the things he had done when he was deputy attorney general and he came in to see me. and we had a long talk, and i ultimately supported him. i got an agreement from eric holder that he would take a fresh review of the ted stevens
case. i couldn't get the republican attorney general to do that, but eric holder to review it and look at what has happened. they have found that there was terrible concealing of evidence that would have exculpated, would have exonerated, would have let stevens go. they hid the evidence. the result was he was convicted. he lost the election that he lost his life in a plane crash. now the investigation has come forward to show that you can reenter the department of justice, and all the department of justice has done is to transfer those two people. and there is a demand being made that is in the morning newspaper so that that isn't sufficient. a number of senators are standing up and raising hell about it, and justifiably so. >> here is a tweet here, senator. mr. specter, you waited too late to tell what's happened in the gop with your book. what is the inner thinking of
the gop special interest with norquist, grover norquist? are republicans scared? do you talk to your former colleagues about this? do you think republicans are scared? >> well, grover norquist has exerted a lot of influence because he has gotten pledges from many people not to raise taxes. and he is very weighty. and when you talk about raising taxes, that's very unpopular politically. so he's had a lot of influence with the congress. >> do you remember being scared of grover norquist when you were running for reelection? >> no, i don't remember being scared of grover norquist or anybody. >> steve, an independent in gaston, florida. go. you're up next. >> caller: yes, hello, greta. >> morning. >> caller: and senator spector. >> hello. >> caller: a pleasure talking with you. mitt romney accused rick santorum in one of his debates of supporting you which led to the obamacare. that was one thing that i wanted
you to address. but most importantly, ten years ago i probably would have been a tea partier, you know, because i was the independent in the republican party that didn't want all the spending, especially in iraq. and now i think it's hypocritical of tea partiers to come out because there is a democratic president and come out and all of the sudden play this hard line, this debt game. we're not going to raise the debt when the republicans did it all along. and i was just wondering what you thought of that. and then the last thing was the word rhino, republican in name only. i've been called that for the last ten years. and now i'm just going to vote democrat. and if the republicans don't want me, you know where they can go. but thank you all, and have a great day. >> well, you have been called rino, republican in name only
for ten years. it happened to me for 30 years. and i came pretty much the same conclusion you have if the republicans -- you say the republicans don't want you. well, the republicans and i developed as i call it irreconcilable differences. and my votes characteristically have been more independent than the party line. i think john kennedy was right when he said sometimes the party asks too much. >> do you regret switching parties and running as a democrat? >> which time, greta? >> the most recent time. >> no, i don't regret it. let me give you just 30 seconds of background. i inherited my politics from my parents. both of them were immigrants. tough times in the depression. franklin roosevelt was the hero. i was an assistant d.a. in philadelphia, won some big
cases. put some tough union racketeers in jail. some other big cases. and i wanted to run for district attorney. and i went to see the chairman of the democratic party, and he said we don't want a young tom dewey in the d.a.'s office. most probably don't remember tom dewey. he was a tough d.a. in the '30s. they didn't want a tough, honest d.a. >> and he ran for president as well? >> yeah, he was governor of new york and ran for prenpuicans ca they hadn't won an election in a very long time. and they offered me the nomination, which wasn't worth very much, but i accepted it and ran a vigorous campaign and pulled a big upset. i w my registration as a democrat, no strings attached. when i was elected as a republican, philadelphia is a one-party town, a lot of corruption in the democratic
organization. so i became a republican in order to try to bring back a two-party system. and i've been comfortable as a republican. i agree with the republican philosophy on jobs, on low taxes, on strong national defense. i support the death penalty, for example. but on many items i do not. i led the fight for national institute of health funding. and these earmarks are not bad if the direction is for something which is useful. so my role in the senate was pretty much independent. i opposed. the republicans got very mad at me. we're having a 25-year retrospective next month on bourque, and i'm going to be speaking there. so when i voted for the stimulus, and irreconcilable differences, i made the switch. and i have no regrets. >> all right.
debbie, a democrat in kansas city, missouri. go ahead. >> caller: yes, senator specter. >> hello, debbie. >> caller: hi. i have a question. there is a bill in the republican house i believe that says that everybody should be paying taxes across the board. that means even people on welfare should be paying something. and i can't see why our country cannot allow every single person whether if it's small, you pay a tax. and if you're on relief, you would still pay a tax across the board. everybody has a stake in the game. i'm on limited funds because i work part-time. but i still file income tax every single year. and i file on what i make. i don't see why people on relief can't do the same thing. if you're on some kind of assistance, at least you've got a